1. Read about the profession. See our suggested reading list.
2. Web sites can also provide you with detail regarding specialty areas within the legal profession. These may give you a more solid foundation on the possibilities available to you with a law degree. See Appendix C for a list of helpful web sites.
3. Talk with practicing attorneys. Ask them about a “typical day” and whether they enjoy their job. This will give you insight into the profession from those who are already there.
4. Make an appointment with the Political Science Department’s Pre-Law Advisor. She can provide you with more information and discuss your interests.
5. Find an internship or part-time job in a law firm, government agency, etc. This gives you an up close and personal look into what it means to be a lawyer. Determine whether your personality and skills match those of the lawyers you observe.
6. Visit law school classes. It’s important to keep in mind that the law school classroom environment is very different from the practice of law. Merely because you like or dislike a law class does not necessarily mean you will like or dislike the practice of law.
7. Review a case book. One way to figure out if you will enjoy law school is to review a case book. A significant amount of work in law school involves reading legal cases (i.e., legal decisions written by judges about specific controversies between parties). While you likely will not be able to understand the substance of the case, you will be able to get a feel for the type of reading required in law school.
8. Reading books and watching films about law school and the legal profession. Reading books and watching films about law school and the legal profession can be a good way to expose yourself to information which might otherwise not be available to you. Of course, be careful to distinguish between fact and fiction. Moreover, note when the book was written or when the movie was produced. While a book or film may be an accurate depiction of a particular law school in the 1970s, to our relief, the atmosphere of most law schools has dramatically changed since then.
9. Taking time off. One of the best ways to determine if you really want to go to law school is by taking time off. Taking time off can provide a much needed break for you. Then, when you actually enroll in law school, you will feel refreshed and eager to get back into the academic environment. Moreover, taking time off can help you determine if you are genuinely interested in attending law school and becoming an attorney. Some students – who are wavering between law and business – take time off to work in a consulting or investment banking job. Some students, with personal and/or family financial obligations, choose to take time off and work before enrolling in law school so they will have a financial cushion. Other students have the flexibility to use time off to go on a travel fellowship or assume a low-paying job in the community.
10. Before you start applying ask yourself the following questions:
a. Do I have a compelling interest in the law? An interest strong enough to withstand an extremely rigorous curriculum? An interest strong enough to withstand a sizable financial debt?
b. Would a law degree increase my social, personal and professional satisfaction?
Should I go to Law School?
Preparing for Law School
The Application Process
Waiting for a Decision
Paying for Law School
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